Phonological analysis of child speech
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Phonological Analysis of Child Speech. Relational Analysis. Model of Speech Disorders. A speech disorder can be phonetic (articulatory), phonemic (phonologic), or both The broader term “speech disorder” encompasses all of these. Nature of Assessment.

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Phonological Analysis of Child Speech

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Phonological analysis of child speech

Phonological Analysis of Child Speech

Relational Analysis

Model of speech disorders

Model of Speech Disorders

  • A speech disorder can be phonetic (articulatory), phonemic (phonologic), or both

  • The broader term “speech disorder” encompasses all of these

Nature of assessment

Nature of Assessment

  • Phonological analysis includes the identification, description, and classification of sound differences in a child’s speech that signal meaning differences

  • 3 key concepts in phonological analysis (Grunwell, 1997):

    • System

    • Structure

    • Stability



  • Includes a set (or inventory) of different sounds produced by the child

  • Adequate sound systems are symmetrical

    • Sounds are contrastive in place, voice, and manner and function to signal differences in meaning

    • Sounds function contrastively in all word positions (I, M, F)



  • Refers to the rules and organization of the sound system

  • Specifies the distribution and combination of sounds in a language

    • Example: [] cannot occur # ___

      [pl, bl, kl, gl] are permissable clusters, but not *[tl, dl]



  • Refers to the predictability of the speaker’s systemic and structural patterns (or organization) of their sound system

  • The inventory of sounds (SYSTEM) and the rules that govern the distribution and combination of sounds (STRUCTURE) provide the organization and therefore predictability of a “phonology”

Relational analysis

Relational Analysis

  • Child’s speech compared to adult speech in a one-to-one comparison

  • Differences between the two productions can be described in terms of SODA, phonological processes, PVM error patterns

  • Only describes error sounds, therefore, often called an ERROR ANALYSIS

Independent analysis

Independent Analysis

  • Child’s speech is described as a unique, independent, self-contained sound system

  • NO comparisons made between child:adult systems

  • Describes what the child DOES rather than what the child does NOT do (as in error/relational analysis)

Issues in completing a phonological analysis of child speech

Issues in Completing a Phonological Analysis of Child Speech

  • Type and length of sample

    • Sound inventory ~ pattern test

    • Elicited single word ~ conversational

    • 50 words ~ > 300 words

  • Phonetic transcription

    • Must complete whole-word transcription

  • Severity of disorder

    • Mild-moderate: relational analysis of sound inventory or pattern test may be sufficient

    • Severe-profound: independent + relational analyses with larger samples (150-200 words)

Two frameworks for phonological analysis

Two Frameworks for Phonological Analysis

  • Relational Analysis

    • SODA

    • Distinctive feature analysis

    • Phonological process analysis

    • PVM analysis

  • Independent + Relational Analyses

    • PPK

    • Systemic phonological analysis of child speech (SPACS)

Phonological process analysis

Phonological Process Analysis

  • Number of commercial tests available

    • Dunn (1982): APP identified most patterns

  • Non-standardized phonological process analyses

    • Dunn (1982): non-standardized analysis was better than APP

List of common phonological processes

List of Common Phonological Processes

  • Common to many commercial tests, but not tied to any one published test

  • Listed according to syllable structure (deletion) processes and sound simplification (substitution and assimilation) processes

Considerations in completing non standardized phonological process analysis

Considerations in completing non-standardized phonological process analysis

  • Choose the process that BEST describes error pattern

    • Ex: [o] for [so] could be either BACKING or PALATALIZATION; PAL provides more precise description of what child is doing than broader label of BA

  • In general, each process only changes one aspect of PLACE, VOICE, or MANNER

    • Process ordering (Edwards, 1992)

Process ordering

Process Ordering

  • Sequential application of processes when one sound error involves more than one phonological process (PDI)

  • “unraveling” of child’s error productions relative to adult target

    • Example: /f/adult target



      dprevocalic voicing

      [d]child’s pronunciation

Steps in completing a non standardized phonological process analysis

Steps in completing a non-standardized phonological process analysis

  • Complete whole-word transcription of speech

  • Transcribe target word according to AT

  • Apply appropriate phonological processes in sequential manner until all aspects of sound change are accounted

  • Summarize results (Summary Sheet)

  • Select appropriate tx goals

Summary sheet

Summary Sheet

  • Organize/summarize results

    • Frequency of occurrence of each process

    • Process limitation/application

    • Developmental information on processes

Select tx targets

Select tx targets

  • 3 perspectives

    • Intelligibility perspective

      • most frequently occurring process(es)

    • Developmental perspective

      • Select earliest process(es) that should have been suppressed

    • Combination

Advantages disadvantages of phonological process analysis

Advantages/Disadvantages of Phonological Process Analysis

  • Advantage

    • Describes error patterns

    • Terms are “user friendly”

  • Disadvantage

    • Time needed to complete analysis

    • Selection of tx targets from summary sheet

Place voice manner analysis

Place-Voice-Manner Analysis

  • Describes error patterns in terms of 3 broad categories of consonant production (P-V-M)

  • Similar to phonological process analysis

  • Analysis is completed on PVM Analysis Form

Steps in completing a pvm analysis

Steps in completing a PVM analysis

  • Complete whole-word transcriptions

  • Use black/red markers to color code

  • Mark each consonant with appropriate color in appropriate box on PVM form

  • List phonetic inventory

  • Summarize error patterns according to PVM

  • Select tx targets

Advantages disadvantages of pvm analysis

Advantages/Disadvantages of PVM Analysis


  • Relatively simple and quick to complete

  • Visual representation of error patterns

    • Selection of treatment targets is easier

  • Form useful to communicate with parents and others

  • Form useful to compare pre/post test results


  • does not identify assimilation errors

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